The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Survivors rattled by fresh quake

Banda Aceh (Indonesia), Jan. 24 (Reuters): Fresh earthquakes in Asia today rattled traumatised survivors of last month's killer tsunami, while Indonesia and rebels in Aceh agreed to hold talks, seeking to turn the calamity into a chance for peace.

Japanese warships anchored off the coast of Aceh today, the last of the foreign military relief missions to arrive, even as civilians groups began taking control of the unprecedented aid effort.

Almost a month after the tsunami killed as many as 234,000 people across the Indian Ocean, a strong earthquake hit Indonesia's eastern Sulawesi island, killing one person, and a tremor rattled the provincial capital Banda Aceh, sending frightened tsunami survivors running into the streets.

Another quake, measuring 6.5, was recorded west of Great Nicobar island in India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which were badly hit by the December 26 tsunami, but there were no reports of casualties or damage.

Andaman and Nicobar Island chief secretary V.V. Bhatt said: 'We are aware that a moderate intensity earthquake, 6.5 on the Richter scale, has hit Indonesia at 9.45 am today (IST), but we have not felt any shock here in Port Blair.'

Asked about the other islands, the chief secretary told The Telegraph over phone that 'since no adverse reports have come in from the southern islands, we can assume that everyone is safe and they too did not feel anything'.

The trauma of the tsunami, less than a month ago, was still close to the surface. Terrified residents ran into the streets when a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck eastern Sulawesi island early today and a quake aftershock hit Banda Aceh.

Authorities said the quake killed one person and damaged buildings in Palu, central Sulawesi's provincial capital.

Police calmed residents who thought giant waves were on the way.

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